All dog owners know the sound… That sound that gets you out of your bed faster than any alarm ever could… It’s the horrible sound that signifies that your dog is about to throw up (probably on your carpet).
But what causes a dog to develop an upset stomach, and how can you help him feel better? Keep reading to find out!
What causes dog vomiting?
The reasoning behind dog vomiting (or even diarrhea) range from sudden and minor to long-lasting and harmful. Here are a few examples:
- Diet changes (new dog food or even eating from the trash)
- Foreign bodies (such as pieces of toys, clothing, or something he found in the trash)
- Car sickness
- Intolerance for a new medication
- Nausea following an operation
- Viral infections
- Intestinal parasites
- Bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal tract
- Acute kidney or liver failure
- Inflammation of the gallbladder
- Infected uterus
What to do when your dog vomits
There are three key things you can do for your dog if you notice that he is throwing up: examine what came up (as gross as this may be), withhold food for a bit, and then feed him a bland, gentle diet.
When you examine what your dog has thrown up, look for two main things. First, did he throw up an identifiable object such as a toy or a piece of clothing? Second, is there any blood in his vomit? If he threw up a toy and you can tell he has thrown it all up, you don’t necessarily have to be too concerned. But, if you can’t tell what the object is that he has thrown up or you think there may be more in his body still, you might consider calling your veterinarian and having him checked out. You should also call your vet if your dog throws up blood. This could indicate a bigger problem such as an illness that needs professional treatment.
If your dog threw up his food and you can see the kibble, his food likely didn’t sit well with him. If this happens more than once, you should switch to a different food that is gentler on his stomach. If your dog threw up yellow bile, make note of that. If it happens often and without reason, you might mention it to your veterinarian so they can investigate the cause.
Regardless of what your dog threw up, the very nature of throwing up can be rough on his body. To help his body settle down, you should withhold his food if he free-feeds, and you might consider skipping his next meal so that his body has a chance to calm down.
Gentle foods to feed your dog
When you feed your dog next, you should consider giving him a gentle, bland meal replacement before you reintroduce his dog food. Doing so will ensure that he is still getting the nutrients that are needed for him to feel better while his stomach starts to feel better. As a bonus, it’s different food from what he normally eats, so your dog will probably be over the moon about his new meal options!
Chicken or low-fat hamburger and rice
These foods are mild and sit well in dogs’ stomachs and are easy to prepare. (And, chicken and rice are common ingredients in many dog foods anyway!) Just make sure not to use any oils, seasonings, or anything like that, as those will likely make your dog’s stomach issues worse. Boiled, shredded chicken, low-fat hamburger drained of any fat, and plain rice are the best options here.
Pumpkin or sweet potato
Pumpkin and sweet potato both offer digestive health benefits and are high in fiber, making them ideal for regulating digestive systems. They contain vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese which give your dog a nutritional boost as his stomach issue resolves. For convenience, you can even give your dog canned pumpkin puree. Again, just make sure not to salt or season the small amount of pumpkin or sweet potato that you give your dog.
Baby food is actually a great option as it is easy to swallow and digest, requires no preparation, and can also be used to hide any medications your dog may be taking for his stomach issue. Most vets will recommend Stage II meat-based options such as chicken, lamb, and turkey; just make sure the baby foods do not contain any garlic or onion powder. You might consider adding baby food to some of the above options for the nutritional boost, as he shouldn’t eat too much baby food too often (because it’s not formulated for him).
Coconut oil for dogs
While coconut oil certainly isn’t a food replacement option, it is something you can give your dog when he isn’t feeling well or if he has a history of getting an upset stomach. Coconut oil actually promotes digestive health and can help with regularity. Simply give your dog as little as a quarter teaspoon or as much as a teaspoon of Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil every day (depending on breed size and tolerance).
Aside from the other issues to note that we raised earlier in this blog, there are a couple of other things to address with your veterinarian. For example, if your dog’s vomiting or diarrhea persists for more than a day, blood becomes present in either over time, or if your dog refuses to eat even the bland, gentle food replacement options, consult your veterinarian so that your dog can find relief as soon as possible.